A break from the brain-wringer.  

Posted by Dino Gane-Palmer né Ganesarajah in

Thanksgiving break. Time to take a break from the wringer that is b-school life. ©

Kellogg has broken for the thanks-giving break. We now get a week away from school distractions before getting back and looking forward to final exams for the quarter. I feel slight relief. But I know that this feeling won't last long. What seemed like an ocean of time to get lots of things done suddenly only looks like a puddle. Here is a preview of what I have to get through over the next 9 days.

Organising meetings with companies. I'm going to be in the Bay Area over the second and third weeks of December. I'm going to be on two Kellogg organised treks, visiting tech companies and VCs in the area. There is some downtime between these treks, so I'd like to use this time to meet further companies that are doing things related to what I plan to do in future. Organising these meetings means emails and phone calls over the coming week.

Getting the school newspaper ready. My one (or main) extracurricular activity while at Kellogg will be running the school newspaper - I'm the paper's Editor-In-Chief for the year 2010. I feel that the paper, The Merger, has been a little too infrequent and that quite a few improvements can be made to the way it looks and how we deliver it. All this requires more work, and importantly, more money. Figuring all this out will be another task over this thanksgiving.

Assignments. There are numerous assignments that are due the week after thanksgiving. Some of these are not worth too much, but others account for a significant portion of our grade. They are going to take some time to get completed.

The social scene continues. Yes, even though I will be in Evanston - the home of Kellogg - all through the break, while many students will be back at home, there are other students who are in the same predicament as me. We've already started planning at least one get together. The school also puts on a thanksgiving dinner on Thursday for anyone who is around, which will also be interesting.

Catching up with school work. I've fallen behind on a few subjects. I need to spend some time over the week catching up with some concepts that have just flown over my head in the last few weeks. This is especially so because final exams are shortly after.

Studying for a waiver exam. I've decided to sit for a waiver exam for the statistics course that most Kellogg students take during the second quarter. I have done some statistics in the past. Having repeated some probability material this quarter that I have done in the past, I feel I should at least attempt the exam so that I don't feel like I'm repeating material again next quarter. Of course, this means revising some statistics concepts that I've not seen in almost ten years. Oh well. We'll just have to see how things pan out.


Media Should Solve A Problem  

Posted by Dino Gane-Palmer né Ganesarajah in

The Economist solves a problem for its readers. ©

What need does any particular media publication fulfil? In the face of increasing difficulty that media publications have for charging for content, one of the recent dicussions in the Media & Entertainment Club at Kellogg has centered on thinking about media as we would any other business: what problem is the media publication fixing that the consumer would pay money for?

Too often, editors that run publications do not care about the readers - often printing what they think is best. In contrast, publications that are successful satisfy specific needs of their customers. Two examples that have arisen are:
  • The Economist: For executives, this solves the problem of getting a weekly dose of all the important news, within a one hour period. Ultimately, The Economist helps executives with small talk when meeting people. The Economist's attitude and approach to writing also has a particular appeal.
  • The Wall Street Journal: On the surface, this publication appears similar to the New York Times. However, investment banking professionals read the Wall Street Journal specifically. This is because they know that everyone else in the profession reads it - so to have the same information that they do, these bankers also need to read it. Secondly, for investment bankers, having a copy of the Wall Street Journal on your desk is almost a status symbol - an artefact showing that you are a member of the profession.

In the case of both of these publications, they are able to charge for their content because they satisfy a clear need. B2B media takes this to the extreme. While not as sexy as B2C media, B2B media satisfies essential business needs. Subscription based businesses, such as Lexus Nexus and Bloomberg, add value to the workflow of workers in the world of business.

In a time of desperation for many media publications, the old "what problem does it solve?" insight is perhaps a more obvious cure than most publications realise.